Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Mar 26th, 2018

Ministry: AmeriKKKant

(Nuclear Blast)

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Perhaps one of the few contexts in which I can tolerate Trump’s voice is when it’s slowed down to darkly a humorous effect like in the opening sample in a Ministry album with artwork featuring a face palming Statue Of Liberty against a background of a war-torn New York City skyline. The first track, “I Know Words” takes Trump’s wall-building, MAGA babbling and twists it around urgent violins, ominous keys, and turntable scratching.

The tension builds and explodes into the second track, “Twilight Zone,” assaulting us with thunderous drums. It’s reminiscent of Psalm 69/Land Of Rape And Honey era Ministry of the 90s, complete with a wailing, distorted harmonica-like sample a la Filth Pig. Al Jourgensen’s band rallies around him with relentless guitars as he screams in his trademark guttural growl about being “disgusted and depressed,” comparing present-day America to a dystopian  Twilight Zone. By now, the mood has been established and it doesn’t stop. From the epic, distorted symphonic buildup in “Victims of a Clown” to the thrash-metal  frenzy of “We’re Tired of it,” there’s a feeling of helpless fury that gives way to full-body goosebumps.

The symphonic touches such as sampled horns and strings, the almost satirical turntable scratches making the entire experience feel like we’re caught in some nightmarish DJ set, that trademark haunted harmonica sound, and the disembodied newscaster and political speech samples are all put to great use and highly effective. It’s worth noting that this is the first album where the great Mike Scaccia is absent, their longtime guitarist who passed away in 2012 but appeared posthumously  on 2013’s From Beer To Eternity. However, the new lineup boasts Revolting Cocks contributor Sin Quirin on guitar, bassist Tony Campos (of Fear Factory and Prong among others), and renowned turntablist DJ Swamp. It makes for a solid blend of musicianship and creativity.

The title track closes the album and creates a perilous, creeping-doom feeling that puts it next to classics like “Scarecrow” or “Thieves.” In stark contrast to the tightly wound, safe music which seems rampant in mainstream culture today, AmeriKKKant is huge, loud, and a necessary statement both musically and politically. While reviews on this album have been greatly polarized and seem to skew towards the negative, I’ve been a Ministry fan for 25 years and I personally think Uncle Al got it right this time.

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Ministry: AmeriKKKant